chapter  I
34 Pages

Coming to reading

The following clinical vignette may help illuminate the questions we are going to be dealing with and sum up the paradoxical issues a subject encounters in the human adventure of reading. In the course of a session, an eight-and-a-half-yearold boy, Valentin, recounts a nightmare to his analyst:

I’m in a library. I’m very small, like a dwarf, and I’m looking for something I’ve lost. I’m surrounded by the books; they are really big. I know that I’m a dwarf and that their pages would like to crush me. I’m scared. I have to find something: my mother. I start running. . . . The shelves are filled with books, like in a dresser, red books with mathematics and French, and they are talking. They are saying wicked things: “You won’t find your mother, you’re lost!”